A mussels recipe with so much flavor and varied texture it has no business being so easy.
There’s nothing like a bowl full of meaty, briny mussels to put you in touch with your carefree, summer self. Remember that self?
I see these and I’m instantly transported to a breezy, quiet beach. Sand between my toes. Sunkissed skin dressed with a layer of salt. Kids with hair ten shades lighter than during the school year and a spouse with a thickening beard and no visible signs of stress whatsoever.
Hunger leads us (briefly) away from the waves toward that little shack of a restaurant. We pull up a rickety bar stool, give the kids some quarters for the pinball machine (which they have no idea how to play but they’ll figure it out. Or not.) and place our order with the near-toothless bartender. Out comes the crusty bread. Mugs of frothy ale. And, in no time at all it seems, a bucket of freshly steamed mussels.
Now comes the best part. With this mussels recipe we don’t have to wait for summer.
But you already knew that. Especially if you live someplace like Brooklyn where mussels have almost replaced the bowl of pretzels the bartender plops in front of you when you belly up.
Mussels are having their day. And for good reason. They’re sustainable, meaty enough to provide a satisfying main course, and they’re great brain food.
But, more than all that, they’re weirdly exciting! They have a mysterious quality. They seem decadent. Indulgent. Even though, unlike their distant relative the lobster, they’re fairly inexpensive, widely available and easy to prepare.
They’re like a simple, wholesome farm girl in Sophia Loren’s body.
What happened was, my husband booked our flights to Barcelona this summer (yay!) and was instantly overwhelmed by the need to make a paella. I was NOT complaining (though I did question his choice of Uncle Ben’s rice. Wrongfully. It was delicious. I’m a snob.)
But, since you only use a handful of mussels in a paella, I suddenly had over a pound of mussels sitting in my fridge that needed to be used in the next 24 hours. And no mussels recipe in my repertoire.,
[clickToTweet tweet=”Mussels with white wine, sun-dried tomato + chorizo. A briny bowl of summer. #seafood” quote=”Tweet this to your friends. So they can make it for you.” theme=”style1″]
I probably shouldn’t say this since I’m in the “recipe business” but I find it sooo hard to stick to a recipe! You’ll find what I came up with below but if you choose to deviate or embellish I promise I won’t be upset. On the contrary, please share what you do so I can try it your way, too. Because I see a lot of mussels in my future.
This mussels recipe has a few highlights I want to..uh..well…highlight. The sweet tang of the sun-dried tomatoes sings in perfect harmony with the smoky, spicy chorizo. The fresh chives and parsley lend a refreshing overall brightness. And, to my surprise and delight, the flavor of the coriander seeds really comes through. Assuming you like coriander, that really seals the deal on the deliciousness contract.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion cut in half and very thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 ounces of chorizo sausage diced
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed lightly using mortar and pestle
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 strands saffron
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds mussels cleaned and debearded
- handful of fresh chives roughly chopped
- handful of fresh parsely roughly chopped
- Heat up oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add garlic and onion and sauté, stirring often, until they start to soften.
- Add chorizo, coriander and fennel. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until you really start to smell those spices.
- Add wine, saffron, bay leaf and sun-dried tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Let simmer until reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Too much liquid will toughen the mussels, which also add their own liquid as they steam open.
- Add mussels, cover and steam shaking pan a few times for 5 to 6 minutes. At this point, if the majority of the mussels are open, proceed to next step. If there are quite a few that haven't opened yet, you can remove the open mussels with a slotted spoon and continue to steam the closed ones for a few more minutes. If they still don't open, you should discard them.
- Remove pan from heat. Replace any mussels you may have removed in the prior step.
- Toss in fresh herbs.
- Give it one final stir and serve.
This amount serves four as a starter and two as a main course. Between the chorizo and the briny juice of the mussels themselves, I've never found the need for any additional salt.